What protection does a patent provide?
If you have come up with a new, unique, and useful idea that you think is worth marketing, then one of the first things you will want to consider is whether or not a patent is the right option for you. There is no simple answer to this question without knowing more about the specifics of your idea, the plans you have for it, and more, but there are certainly some things about patents that you should know right off the bat.
Patents can be extremely useful for inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs who would like to build a business around their intellectual property and enjoy legal protections as they are provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office after having their ideas approved. However, many people may be disappointed to discover that a patent is not a sweeping legal protection against any competitor using any product or idea that remotely resembles their own unique invention. It is very important that you understand what legal protections that a patent will provide for you and your idea, which is why talking with an patent attorney is a good place to start.
Take a look below at some of the major protections that a patent issued by the USPTO will provide for you, and consider how they will support your own ideas.
A Patent Protects You From Knock-Offs In the Market
When you have a patent, it means that you are protected, by law, against anyone entering the market with your idea if they do not have your explicit consent to do so. This means that if you were to come up with an invention and then realize that a major company has been using it, you have legal recourse in order to seek compensation from them in the form of royalties, both past and future, or arrive at another agreement like a possible acquisition.
Essentially, a patent gives you leverage against any company who would like to use your ideas.
Patents Open The Way For Royalties and Licensing Revenue
As you can imagine from the above protection, there may be many different opportunities to capitalize on your intellectual property that do not involve your own company. Instead, you may be able to license your technology or innovation to a major company in exchange for royalties or another sort of licensing agreement that generates income for you while they are able to use your idea in their own products.
If you have an idea that you believe will be worth licensing costs for major companies, it is important that you maintain your patent and do not let it expire.
Patents Increase the Value Of Your Idea
When you have legal protection for your idea, it automatically increases the value of your idea because it creates a scarcity that may not be overcome without your legal approval. When you hold a valuable, useful patent for a product that people want to use, you are the gatekeeper for how the product is produced, where it is produced, and who is able to use the idea for themselves. As such, there are many different companies, even competitors, who may help increase the value of your product by being unable to create something as useful or innovative as the idea you have patented.